The Ultimate PR Planning Template

If you’re reading this, you probably have a fantastic product or service, a passionate team, and no doubt, a brand story waiting to be told. So how do you make sure your voice isn’t lost in the hubbub? One way is to create a strategic PR (Public Relations) plan.

To make it easy, here’s a PR planning template to draft a month full of compelling ideas, events, and a bit of media magic!

The Essence of Public Relations Planning

PR isn’t just about sending out press releases – and yawn – waiting for the phone to ring or your inbox to ding.  It’s about telling a story, building relationships, and managing your company’s image. A well-thought-out strategic PR plan works best if your communication is consistent, timely, and resonates with your target audience.

Components of the Ultimate PR Planning Template

  1. Set Objectives 
  2. Segment Your Audience
  3. Identify Media Channels
  4. Build a Content Calendar
  5. Look at Engagement Metrics

Let’s dive into the format, and what’s in a detailed PR Planning template.

1. Set Objectives to Define Your Outcome

First things first. When you create a public relations plan, always begin by clearly defining what you want to achieve.

Example:

  • Week 1: Raise awareness about your new eco-friendly product line.
  • Week 2: Position your CEO as a thought leader through interviews at an industry-wide conference.
  • Week 3: Highlight your community involvement and CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives.
  • Week 4: Manage and build anticipation for your end-of-the-month product launch.

2. Segment Your Audience to Craft Your Messaging

Marketing Plan and PR 101 – Know who you’re talking to. Match your messaging to each different audience to be sure it resonates with them.

Example:

  • Millennials – Focus on eco-friendliness, innovation, and community impact
  • Industry Professionals – Highlight technological advancements, why your product is relevant, and business metrics; why it makes sense to buy, distribute, or highlight
  • Local Communities- Emphasize community involvement, corporate responsibility, hiring best practices (and who you’re hiring locally)

Note: The more detailed your target audiences, the more likely your content will resonate with them. Working in a silo is never a good idea, so take time to get feedback from current customers and employees. They may have a different perspective and add surprising value.

3. Identify Media Channels to Reach Your Target Market

Different channels cater to different audiences. When creating a PR campaign, knowing where to tell your story is half the battle.

Example:

  • Traditional Media – Newspapers, Magazines, TV, Radio; Billboard if appropriate
  • Digital Platforms – Email, Blogs, Podcasts, LinkedIn Newsletter, Influencer Collaborations
  • Social Media – LinkedIn for B2B and professional updates, Instagram for visuals, Twitter/X for real-time updates, Facebook for community building

4. Build a Content Calendar to Meet Your Public Relations Goals

Plan your content distribution for the month. Below you’ll find an overview of a strategic PR Plan with its steady flow of communication. Remember, this is just an example and every topic might not be applicable for your business. Think about your goals and add your own content to the calendar. You can find the sample PR template after #5, Engagement Metrics.

5. Look at Engagement Metrics to Measure Success

Once you’ve launched your (beefed up) PR campaign and social media strategy, evaluate your plan by measuring your engagement to see if it was effective. Just remember, overnight sensations are rare. It takes time – and consistency- to build a brand, following, and business.

Example Metrics:

  • Newspaper, blogs, published media – Measure the number of shares, mentions, and click throughs on your site; (include back links and unique visitors).
  • Media Interviews – Determine the increase in social media engagement, shares, visits to your website, landing pages, and media buzz that generates leads, brand awareness, speaking opportunities, etc.
  • Facebook and Instagram Posts – Track likes, comments, shares, and overall engagement rates. Look at the increase in followers.
  • LinkedIn Posts – Look at views, likes, shares, comments, and click-through rates, especially if you’ve created links with call-to-actions. Count new connection requests.
  • LinkedIn Newsletter – If launching a LinkedIn Newsletter, measure the number of requests to subscribe, versus number you invited, total number subscribers, engagement, comments.
  • YouTube Videos – Determine increase in subscribers, views, click-throughs through video descriptions, social media links, and rankings for keywords.
  • Podcast Interviews – Monitor the number of listens, shares, and any feedback in the comments. Transcribe to use for content repurposing.
  • Email campaigns – Look at sign-ups, open rates, unsubscribe rates, shares, comments from readers, and requests for more information.
  • Press Releases – Measure the number of media outlets that picked up your story and review the quality of those links. Do they all link back to your website? Can you pitch follow up stories?

Sample Public Relations Template and PR Calendar for a Month    

Week 1: Introduce Your Product Line

Week 2: Position the CEO as an Industry Thought Leader

Week 3: Highlight Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives

Week 4: Build Anticipation for Product Launch

Note: Your content calendar should be robust, filled with a mix of valuable content, graphics, and videos per designated channel. Post a minimum of 3 – 5 times weekly on each platform. You don’t need to be on every social media channel. It’s better to be really great at a few than ‘meh’ on many. Test and tweak content and platforms frequently.

Bottomline: Use This PR Template to Build a Winning PR Plan

A well-crafted PR plan sets your brand apart from the competition – because they may not be doing any PR at all (or know the basics).  Gain the competitive advantage and maximize earned media to build brand awareness, increase sales, and get noted as an industry expert. 

Just like with a marketing plan, set clear objectives, know your audience, choose the right channels, strategize your content, and monitor activities to see what’s working and how you can improve. You’re driving the PR brand wagon so be strategic, mindful, and purposeful with your intentions.

One thing to remember. It’s not about shouting the loudest. It’s about connecting with your target audience, who BTW, are people just like you. See what resonates with them and what matters. Use this public relations campaign template to guide and customize your brand story. Every company or brand deserves to be heard and celebrated. Why can’t it be you? 

If you’re looking to learn more about public relations, I offer 1-on-1 PR training for small businesses to learn the skills of top publicists. If you’re interested in learning more, please schedule a call here.

 

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